OPINION: Leaders of four high schools show how it should be done

Clothes are for sale. Cars are too. But enrollment slots in schools are most definitely not.

Shalhevet’s increasing applicant pool each year has led to a gradual increase in spending, potentially distracting from the school’s important qualities with gourmet food at events and elaborate giveaways.

A similar problem had arisen at other local Jewish schools as well. At Valley Torah, a lot of money was previously spent on laptop covers and backpacks for prospective students. At YULA Boys, admissions spending went toward meat and other expensive foods for Open House.

But luckily, someone — or rather four someones — spotted it.

We full-heartedly commend the heads of Shalhevet, YULA, and Valley Torah for their recent initiative to collectively reduce budgeting for admissions and recruitment.  Even more so, we are pleased to see community leaders working together on common problems.

It turns out that despite their hashkafic differences — that is, differences in religious practice and interpretation — and sports rivalries, the heads of the four major yeshiva high schools in Los Angeles — Shalhevet, YULA Boys, YULA Girls and Valley Torah —  have been meeting up together on occasion for the past two years, at the initiative of our Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal.

The Admissions detente is just one example of endeavors the four have pursued.

They’ve also agreed to send out acceptance letters to eighth-graders at the same time, to reduce the competitiveness and pressure of having to respond to one school before hearing from another.

Our leaders have begun the process of overcoming differences and focusing in on what matters — in this case, the qualities of their schools, rather than flamboyant marketing strategies. We congratulate them and hope this is only the beginning of change these meetings will yield.